Tagine Pots anda Preserved Lemon Recipe

I have been thinking about tagine cooking today: a quick google search came up with a cool site to buy a clay tagine pot and~! a recipe for preserved lemons. I know I'm cheating with content but you know what- 1. I want to plug another small business and 2. today was my first day off in 8 weeks. I'm taking DH to a seizure follow up with a (new) neurologist tomorrow morning so maybe we will get some good news.. :) Yea EEG results were normal!

tagine pot by le creuset, cast iron
Title: Preserved Lemons
Categories: Condiments, Fruits,
Harned 1994, Moroccan, Preserving
Yield: 1 batch
You will need :
5 Lemons
1/4 c Salt; more if desired
1 Cinnamon stick
3 Cloves
5 To 6 coriander seeds
3 To 4 black peppercorns
1 Bay leaf
Freshly squeezed lemon juice -- if necessary

The author writes: “Preserved lemons, sold loose in the souks, are one of the indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cooking, used in fragrant lamb and vegetables tagines, recipes for chicken with lemons and olives, and salads.

Their unique pickled taste and special silken texture cannot be duplicated with fresh lemon or lime juice, despite what some food writers have said. In Morocco they are made with a mixture of fragrant-skinned doqq and tart boussera lemons, but I have had excellent luck with American lemons from Florida and California.”

Moroccan Jews have a slightly different procedure for pickling, which involves the use of olive oil, but this recipe, which includes optional herbs (in the manner of Safi), will produce a true Moroccan preserved-lemon taste.
“The important thing in preserving lemons is to be certain they are completely covered with salted lemon juice. With my recipe you can use the lemon juice over and over again. (As a matter of fact, I keep a jar of used pickling juice in the kitchen, and when I make Bloody Marys or salad dressings and have a half lemon left over, I toss it into the jar and let it marinate with the rest.) Use wooden utensils to remove lemons as needed.”

“Sometimes you will see a sort of lacy, white substance clinging to preserved lemons in their jar; it is perfectly harmless, but should be rinsed off for aesthetic reasons just before the lemons are used. Preserved lemons are rinsed, in any case, to rid them of their salty taste. Cook with both pulps and rinds, if desired.”
To make preserved lemons: If you wish to soften the peel, soak the lemons in lukewarm water for 3 days, changing the water daily.
Quarter the lemons from the top to within 1/2″ of the bottom, sprinkle salt on the exposed flesh, and then reshape the fruit.

Place 1 tb. salt on the bottom of a sterilized one-pint mason jar. Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt, and the optional spices, between layers. Press the lemons down to release their juices and to make room for the remaining lemons. (If the juice released from the squashed fruit does not cover them, add freshly squeezed lemon juice - not chemically produced lemon juice and not water.*)

Leave some air space before sealing the jar. Let the lemons ripen in a warm place, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice. Let ripen for 30 days.

To use, rinse the lemons, as needed, under running water, removing and discarding the pulp, if desired - and there is no need to refrigerate after opening.

Preserved lemons will keep up to a year, and the pickling juice can be used two or three times over the course of a year.

According to the late Michael Field, the way to extract the maximum amount of juice from a lemon is to boil it in water for 2 or 3 minutes and allow it to cool before squeezing.
Cathy's note: I thought that the Safi spice combination sounded so good that I included it all as part of Wolfert's recipe although, when she wrote it, she only called for the lemons and salt as the main ingredients and made the rest of the ingredients optional.
From _Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco_ by Paula Wolfert. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1987. Pp. 30-32. ISBN 0-06-091396-7.

Tagines are Moroccan slow-cooked meat, fruit & vegetable dishes which are almost invariably made with lamb. Although not authentic, beef can be used as a substitute and turns out great as well.

I found a great informational Asian recipe/history site- this is how 'I' travel :) Fantastic Asian Recipes this link is to Burmese cooking.

I had the great good fortune of eating Burmese food several times in the few years I lived in LA. A friend ( Hello Phil!) whose family had fled Burma were able to bring with them their family cook.

I find it so interesting that when people flee, they choose to bring the food preparer- the essence of life rather than the 'Benz. And for the most part the nurturing food preparer is willing to follow to continue the mission.
COOL TOOL This is an interesting site called nutribase.com that gives short definitions of cooking ingredients.


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